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Global cultural revolution and paradigm shifts

Postmodern existentialism prevailed in western culture after the defeat of Marxism Leninism, at the time when a new global ethic was being built: the new paradigms embody the long journey of the West towards postmodernity; they are postmodern. Transformed into norms and values during the UN conference process of the early 1990s, they have been surfing on the powerful and dramatically accelerating wave of globalization. They already imbibe the fabric of societies all over the world.

The cultural revolution did not leave intact any of the components of western civilization. It can in fact be subdivided into a series of revolutions: semantic; ideological; geopolitical and political; juridical; security; health; education; socioeconomic; anthropological; sexual; feminist; cultural and societal; ethic; scientific; agriculture; industry…

The lists hereafter are obviously far from comprehensive. Their purpose is to provide a glimpse of the depth and scope of the global cultural revolution.

None of the paradigm shifts is self evident. A serious study is in order for each single one of them, to allow each person, human community and nation to discern and determine themselves freely. Discernment is more needed than ever in the era of globalization.

Neither modernity nor postmodernity are the panacea. Analytical efforts must therefore proscribe from the start a simplistic, rapid and superficial approach.

Modern or judeo-christian paradigmsPostmodern paradigms
   
Semantic revolution
RealityText to be interpreted
DefinitionDescription, ambivalence, choice of interpretation
Single meaningPlural, diverse meanings
MeaningSpace of interpretation
  
Philosophical/ideological revolution
ModernityPostmodernity
WhatHow and why
ContentMethod
In itselfFor oneself
Reality - truthDeconstruction, destabilization
AnswersQuestions
ReligionsSpiritualities, systems of religious belief
DogmaTolerance, free choice
RealityDream, virtuality, potentiality
Matter/body/concreteImmaterial, ethereal, abstract
Law of natureMeta-ethic of the freedom to choose
EternalSustainable
GeneralizationAcknowledgment of « differences »
Ignorance, « obscurantism »« Knowledge »
ObjectivityInterpretation
Abstract reasoning, meta theories« Human realities », experience
Capacity of the reason to access realityReasoning of negation, denial
Power - reason coalitionPower for social change
BinarismComplexity
Common goodCollective interests
StabilityChange
Sacredness of human lifeEquality of all life forms
TruthRight to error
CertitudesUncertainty
DeismAtheistic existentialism
  
Geopolitical and political revolution
InternationalGlobal
Nation-state, national sovereigntyGlobal governance
ColonialismCultural sensitivity
National interestGlobal priorities
Bipolar worldApolar world
Equal sovereign statesEqual global governance partners
IntergovernmentalMultistakeholder
National citizenshipGlobal citizenship
Western worldGlobal world
Cold warGlobal culture of peace
Inter-state warsInternal conflicts
Population controlSexual and reproductive rights
GovernmentGovernance
Representative democracyParticipatory democracy
State as sovereignState as facilitator
Decide-announce-defendConsensus-building
Institutional powerPower of individuals, individual rights
HierarchiesEqual partners
AuthorityIndividual autonomy
National constructionBuilding transnational networks
Homogeneous statesMulticulturalism
Power overPower with
Top-downBottom-up
ImpositionFacilitation, negotiation, mediation
ConfrontationDialogue
GovernManage
Contract of societyDiversity of choices
StateNon-state actors
Majority – Minority Consensus
Confrontation of ideasNegotiations
Majority voteElimination of differences
Clear identitiesChanging identities
Win-loseWin-win
Hierarchical leadershipHorizontal leadership
RepresentationParticipation
PluralismSingle thought
ServiceSum of particular interests
Centralization Decentralization
Critical discussionOpportunistic compromise
Interests of citizensInterests of political parties
Extremism on the fringesExtremism in the middle
Political cultureMass of interest groups
PluralismPolitical correctness
Political debatePolitical technology
Left and rightFragments of identity
  
Juridical revolution
HardSoft
FormalInformal
Hard lawCustomary law
BindingConsensual
Authority of lawConviction power of the new ethic
Universal rightsGlobal right to choose
International lawCosmopolitan law
Parental rightsChildren rights
Human rightsWomen’s rights
Right to family planningReproductive and sexual rights
  
Security revolution
International securityHuman security: economic security, social security, food security, health security, environmental security…
  
Education revolution
Teacher/professor/directorFacilitator
Objective knowledge Competence
EducationSensitization
EducationFormation, training
Teacher’s instructionsStudent participation
OrdersAdvice
Leadership of subordinationLeadership of integration
Top-down impositionBottom-up responsibility
ImpositionInternalization, ownership
PassiveProactive, participatory
DocileCriticizing
  
Health revolution
Absence of disease or infirmityHolistic health
HealthWell-being, quality of life
  
Socioeconomic revolution
Development as growthSustainable development
GrowthEquilibrium, zero growth
ProgressStabilization
Power of the marketAuthority of the global ethic
ProfitProfit – Environmental protection – Social equity
Linear economic approach« Creative » approaches
CompetitionConvergence
GNPFreedom of access to choice
Development in the SouthGlobal sustainable development
Objective needsRight to choose
CharityRights
  
Anthropological revolution
HappinessQuality of life
Person, personalityIndividual
Personal growthZero growth, regression
Spiritual growthNirvana
Moral/normalPerverse/normal
ReasonNegation
ConscienceAnalysis of motives, unconscious, imagination, sensuality
HeartEmotions, feelings, affectivity
Disinterested loveNarcissism
Parental authorityChildren’s autonomy
InteriorityInternalization
Traditional familyFamily under all its forms
Human lifeLife under all its forms
Personal developmentRealization of one’s potential
LifeVitality
TouchMassage
  
Sexual revolution
SpousePartner
ParentsCouples and individuals
ParentsReproducers
MarriageFree love
Heterosexual relations Right to sexual orientation
Maternity/paternityContraceptive mentality
Sacredness of lifeRight to choose/abortion
CommunionFusion
RealitySensual gratification
Culture of silence, taboosFrom private spaces to public spaces
  
Feminist revolution
Patriarcal structuresGender equality order
HousewivesWomen activists, development agents
ServileSelf-determining
Women in developmentGender and development
Complementarity of the sexesGender equality
  
Cultural and societal revolution
ModernityPostmodernity
UniversalismMulticulturalism
Civilizations(Global) “non-repressive civilization ”
Traditions, customsCultural liberty
Cultural identityCultural diversity
FormalInformal, non-formal
Separate culturesConnected cultures
THE cultureTensions and divergences
Western feeling of superiority“Humility” of western development agents
From withoutFrom within
HomogeneityHeterogeneity, cracks in the system
UniformityDiversification, variation
Singular identityPlural identities
Unchanging, fixed, stableInnovating, changing, evolving
StaticDynamic
RigidFlexible
Inferior/superiorEqual
Us and themAll different
MonolithicMosaic
Changing « the others »Changing conventions
ElitismFor all, equality
Ready-made formulasContextual knowledge
Western cultural imperialismCulturally sensitive approaches, multiculturalism
NormsOpenness to the unexpected
ForeseeableUnforeseeable
Predetermined solutionsKnowledge relative programmation
Assumptions and ready-made ideasConstructive dialogue
ExclusionInclusion
Assimilation without choiceChoice
Societal constraintsIndividual choices
  
Ethical revolution
Universal valuesUniversally shared values
Universal valuesGlobal ethic
MoralityEthic
ObligationInformed choice, informed consent
JusticeEquity
Human lifeAll forms of life
Meaning of sufferingRight to die
Good and evilRight to choose
  
Scientific revolution
FactsConsensus
CertitudesUncertainty, fuzziness
ObjectivityIndividual or collective interpretation
Sectoral approachHolistic integration
FragmentationIntegration
SimplismComplexity
  
Agriculture revolution
Intensive agricultureBio

© 2009 Marguerite A. Peeters
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